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Bowmore 12 Year Old Enigma

I want more... Bowmore!

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@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

2nd Mar 2010


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Bowmore is the captial of Islay, but it's not at all a big place. The distillery, however, is not only the largest on the island, but also the oldest, founded in 1779. The spirit is used for the blends King Pride, Clan Roy, Black Bottle and Islay Legend. But there are of course quite a few bottlings as single malts.

This expression, the 12 Year Old Enigma, is to be found in a 1 litre bottle, since it's only available in the traval retail segment.

The color is a full gold, almost Old Sauternes and rather oily.

The nose is a sweet mix of caramel and the obligatory peat, but very soft peat indeed. It's not dominant at all. It's smells a bit like new car tyres. There is some salt, neatly packed in sweet sherry with honey. Even a little orange liquer. Think Cointreau, but softer. Leave it a while and you'll smell more of the wood. Very interesting and attractive. It's hard to stop smelling this one.

The first swallow... whoa! A kick in the teeth, truly. Halfway through it dries the mouth and becomes quite smokey, followed immediately with some sweet fruits and sherry. This dram is so rich, you can almost chew it!

The finish is long with the peat playing first violin again. Completely balanced dram in my book.

I'll be going abroad soon. I'll be on the lookout for this one in the duty free shop.

Related Bowmore reviews


LeFrog commented

Do Bowmore add spirit caramel their whisky?

10 years ago 0

markjedi1 commented

Hi LeFrog, it's a procedure called 'tinting', they add caramel to give it a nicer look. I'm not for it, but many brands to this. Sometimes whiskymakers also add caramel to very young whisky that hasn't received 'enough color' from the casks yet.

10 years ago 0

jdcook commented

Adding caramel and the chill filtration process are the two most controversial processes used in whisky production today. Still - if a dram looks and tastes good, whose going to argue...

10 years ago 0

markjedi1 commented

Hear, hear. I'm told the adding of caramel for aesthetic purposes does nothing to the taste.

10 years ago 0

roberto commented

are U sure? This enigma is matured in sherry cask, so the color can be stronger than normal ex-bourbon cask. The color is near Glendronach/Dalmore, sherried speyside.

9 years ago 0

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